by Max Brantley
After adjournment today, the legislature gets THE number on school facilities needs. $400 to $600 million has been bandied about. If it's on the lower end, sufficient surplus is available to fund it now.
Gov. Beebe's office volunteers that he will stick to his long-stated preference to meet the need now, not put any portion off. It will take several years to put that much work in motion in any case. Some legislators can be expected to urge deferral of some of the work. I happened to chat briefly with House Speaker Benny Petrus on this issue earlier this week and he sounded pretty clearly in the cable guy's camp -- get 'er done.
UPDATE: The number is $456 million, all a state responsibility and not reflecting some additional local contributions as I wrote erroneously originally. Roby Brock's Talk Business has a detailed report here.